It is so nice and refreshing to feel cool water on your skin on a hot summer day, but did you know that water can feel even better? By adding salt into your pool, the water will feel silkier and more luxurious. However, as any respectable pool owner knows, balance is key, so you don’t want to add too much.
You can safely add salt into your chlorine pool, but the salt you add should be pure with no additives. And of course, you need to carefully measure how much salt to add. Doing so will allow your chlorine pool to feel like a saltwater pool, and you get similar benefits like silkier water and softer skin.
Keep in mind that salt is not a replacement for chlorine, not even in saltwater pools. In this article, we will discuss the pros and cons of adding salt into a chlorine pool, how to do it and how much to add, and what you need to be careful of.
Why add salt to a chlorine pool?
Adding salt to a saltwater pool makes sense, but why do it for a chlorine pool? First off, the salt is not intended to replace the chlorine; you’ll still be adding chlorine.
The main reasons why you might want to add salt to a chlorine pool is to increase the silkiness of the water, increase your buoyancy in the water, and exfoliate your skin.
These benefits are highly subjective and some people find that they can barely tell a difference before adding salt into their chlorine pool and afterwards. That said, some people report feeling a noticeable difference and really enjoy the silky smooth feeling the salty water feels on their skin.
Essentially, you are trying to get the best of both worlds – the feeling of a saltwater pool while still swimming in a chlorinated pool.
How to add salt to your chlorine pool
There’s no trick to it; simply dump the salt at the deepest end of your pool and wait at least 30-60 minutes for it to circulate and dissolve. Make sure your pool pump is set to circulate so that the salt can be distributed evenly.
You can go swimming even before the salt has finished dissolving, but the reason we wait is to ensure the salt is being spread evenly by the pump. This also minimizes any potential side effects of being in an area of a pool that has a high concentration of salt that has yet to disperse.
What kind of salt should you add?
The purer the salt, the better. Numerically, the salt you add should be at least 99.4% pure sodium chloride.
There should be no additives, including any rust-free agents. You can buy salt typically used for water softeners: search for solar salt. Solar salt usually comes in tablet or pellet form and may take longer to dissolve in your pool.
You can also buy salt that is specifically for use at pools at your local pool supply store. These salts are similar to solar salt but may be more expensive. The advantage is that they dissolve faster in water.
How much salt to add?
The salt concentration of ocean water is 35,000 ppm. The amount of saltwater found in saltwater pools, as well as what you are aiming for in a chlorine pool is less than one-tenth the concentration of that.
Some modern pools come with a control panel that lets you instantly detect how much salt content is in the pool. If your pool does not have this system, then you need to measure the salt content manually.
This can be done easily with a saltwater test strip which is readily available at your local pool supply store or online.
What if you add too much salt?
If you add too much salt for whatever reason, you can get some unintended consequences. At a concentration of only 6,000 ppm, the salt content is enough to cause corrosion of your pool.
It’s better to err on the side of caution and to add only a little bit of salt, test the pool water, and then adjust as needed. Dumping a large amount of salt at once can make you go over the recommended range.
Say you added too much salt. What now? Your best option is to dilute the pool by partially draining and refilling it to mitigate its damaging effects.
To do this, you need a pump to drain some water out of the pool, and a source of fresh water such as your garden hose to fill the pool back up to the water line. After doing this, test the water again to see if you’ve successfully lowered the salt concentration, or if you overdid it.
Additional downsides of adding salt to your chlorine pool
There are some downsides to adding salt into your pool. The first thing you may notice is that your pool water now tastes salty. Shocking. Thankfully, it’s not the same taste as saltwater from the ocean, but it may be salty enough that it ruins the experience for some people. However, some people may find it only mildly salty, or they get used to the taste and no longer notice it after a while.
The biggest downside of adding salt to your pool is the increased likelihood of electrolysis. Saltwater is more conductive, which can cause stainless steel filters to get pinhole leaks in a few years.
Furthermore, some pump seals and heater components may also get damaged faster. Some pool seal manufacturers make special seals for salt pools, but your chlorine pool may not have these protections.
Salt is highly corrosive and will cause all metals it is in contact with to rust and wear down quickly. It can even damage your pool liners which is costly to fix.
Should you switch to a saltwater pool?
If you’re going through the hassle of adding salt to your chlorine pool, you might wonder whether you should just switch to a saltwater pool instead.
Saltwater pools are marketed as being easier to maintain, and more affordable in the long-term. That said, there are still regular maintenance practices you should know regardless of what kind of pool you own.
If your salt chlorine generator automatically regulates chlorine and salt levels, then that’s one less thing to worry about. That said, you should still test your pool water in case the generator has malfunctioned.
Additionally, it’s good practice to shock your pool with chlorine after a heavy storm to ensure that the pool is still safe to swim in. Furthermore, draining your pool and scrubbing it down top to bottom is something you should do at least monthly.
The biggest hurdle of a saltwater pool is its initial transition cost. However, you should be saving money on maintenance since you do not need as many chemicals, so over a long enough period of time you may end up saving money compared to a chlorine pool.